The CBI did not rule out the arrest of Karti Chidambaram against whom an FIR has been lodged in a case of FIPB approval for a media company in connection with which his residence and offices were raided on Tuesday.
"These are speculations. All the steps required as per law would be decided in course of time. We have set the process of law in motion through this FIR," CBI Joint Director Vineet Vinayak told media in reply to questions whether Karti would be arrested.
He said all relevant details regarding the FIPB approval in the INX media company given by the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram allegedly at the behest of his son Karti would be looked into during investigation.
"We are in the initial stage of investigation. As the evidence comes forth, we will definitely examine and take action as required by law against those people against whom incriminating documents come to light," he said when asked why the FIR mentions only unnamed officials of the Finance Ministry and had not named them.
We will come back before you with all details in due course of time after we scrutinise the documents, he said, adding searches were still on in the office of Chess Management Service Private Limited of which Karti is the chief promoter.
"All people whose involvement has come forth will be examined in due course of time," Vinayak said.
Giving details of the case that led to registration of the FIR, the CBI official said INX media moved an application in the month of March 2007 to bring 46.2 per cent of foreign issued equity, which amounted to Rs 4.6 core from three entities which were based in Mauritius.
In the application, the company had also mentioned that it will be making 26 per cent downstream investment in its company INX news. In this matter, it was specifically mentioned that 26 per cent downstream investments would require approval from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and a fresh application would be required for the same. This FIPB approval with regard to investment for Rs 4.6 crore to the company came on May 18, 2007.
Vinayak said in February 2008, a complaint was received by the Income Tax department which was referred to FIPB. In that complaint it was mentioned that though the FIPB approval had granted for Rs 4.6 crore, this company had brought in hundreds of crores of rupees in violation of the approval. It was also mentioned that though the company did not have approval for 26 per cent for the downstream investment, it has done so.
On May 26, 2008, a clarification was sought from INX media for both these issues. It was then that the company engaged the services with Chess Management Service Pvt Ltd, which has Karti Chidambaram as its promoter.
"A response formulated as the advice from the Chess Management was submitted to the FIPB on June 26, 2008. In the response, the company mentioned that it had done premium of Rs 800 per share and as regards the 26 per cent downstream investment, the company mentioned that it already had the approval on that account which was incorrect," he said.
Both these clarifications, Vinayak said, were processed at the FIPB and the first response to the premium issue was accepted.
On the second issue, the company had requested in May for a fresh application. The fresh application was submitted by the company mentioning that it made the 26 per cent downstream investment and the company mentioned that it had already made such an investment. It was approved in the month of November 2008.
"On account of the services rendered by Chess Management, it was paid Rs 10 lakh for which we have the vouchers and those vouchers show that this service was raised not by Chess Management but by another company Advantage Strategic Pvt Ltd which is owned by a close associate of Karti Chidambaram."
In addition to this payment, he said, there were three-four other vouchers with regard to payment to other companies with regard to some other issues which have certain common directors. On account of this, prima facie a case was made out and registered on Monday and on Tuesday they conducted raids at 14 locations in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi and one location in Gurugram, Vinayak said.
The raids in majority of these locations were at present underway where as per last reports, certain seizures have been made in this case.
In reply to a question, he said certain documents seized included hard disks, mails, documents which are under scrutiny. "Details about all the seizures have just come and they have to be checked. It would not be possible to give details," he said.
To another question, he made it clear that it was the house of Karti that was raided, suggesting it was not Chidambaram's house that was raided.
(Inputs from IANS)